We know unemployment is a challenge facing many of our readers due to the pandemic. Or maybe lurking on the horizon. As part of our dedicated series, we spoke to Harriet Minter, a Journalist and Life Coach with Electric Woman. Read on for her game-changing tips on coping with unemployment. Edited by Sarah Bradbury.
If someone becomes unemployed during this period, what are some tips for coping?
Remember you are not alone.
Reach out to the people who love you, and tell them what is going on with you. Don’t keep it to yourself. There will be lots of other people going through a similar situation, so see if you can find support groups and/or if you can find people you can talk to about your shared experiences.
This is probably not about you.
Often when we lose our jobs it hits our sense of self-worth, and we feel like it’s something that we’ve done (e.g. If only we’d done better, if only we’d tried harder). Actually, most of the time it’s not about us it’s about the circumstances around us.
Don’t let it permeate how you feel about yourself and your own level of competence.
You are going to need to keep your confidence as strong as possible when looking for a new job.
How can someone potentially see the positive in the situation?
It’s sometimes really hard when we are looking for the positives, but in nearly every situation there is something we can learn or gain from it.
The loss of a job gives you free time, the incentive to go and find something else, the chance to do something different, and a chance to potentially have a whole new life. Think about the opportunities the situation is presenting to you.
I always ask myself, if I knew I wasn’t going to fail, what would I do?
Find what you would do if you knew that whatever you do was not going to go wrong, and go give it a go. Now is the time to experiment and play around.
Allow yourself to be excited about the opportunity, and try not to give in to fear.
When we lose something that has brought security and stability to us it’s very easy to go into panic mode. We need to remember that is us operating from fear, and we need to think how we can operate from a place of this is all opportunity.
Realising how much of an opportunity it is, and get excited about.
When we see that there are lots of different opportunities what we tend not to do is rush head long into the first thing. Instead we sit back, we assess, and we have a look. This allows us to think what can I do here that might give me a really great new life that wouldn’t otherwise be possible, and that is exciting.
What are some practical steps someone can take?
Tap into your network.
This doesn’t have to be your professional network. It can be your friends or family, but talk to everyone and ask them two key questions.
- What do you think are my skills and strengths?
- What would you do if you were me?
You don’t have to listen to them on either of these questions. If they say things that you completely disagree with, that’s fine, but they might show you stuff you hadn’t thought of to begin with.
Examine your finances.
- Do I need to be earning money right now?
- If so, what is the bare minimum I need to be earning, and how can I get that coming through the door so that I can keep thinking about what I want to be doing long-term?
Put yourself out there.
It’s really hard when we’ve lost something as we can feel scared and confused, and so we tend to retreat. My biggest piece of advice would be to put yourself out there in some small way.
If you find it’s more comfortable for you to do that online dedicate sometime to you LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or wherever you have your professional community. Chat to people, congratulate others on what’s happening for them, ask questions, be curious, and respond to blogs and posts with comments.
If you are better in person make a list of people you would like to have a virtual coffee with, and reach out. I think in this particular time people are very responsive to, and are aware that it’s a hard time.
Now is a time to be honest.
I’d be honest and email people to say: “I am moving on from a job I was in, I’m looking at new opportunities, and I would really appreciate half an hour of your time to chat through what I could be doing.”
Call them in as often people are sitting on stuff that they’re not even aware of, but in talking to you it will ping an idea (e.g. have you thought of, I should connect you with), and you will start creating opportunities for yourself.
You can always do the practical stuff of looking at the job boards, talking to recruiters, emailing companies you want to be working with. That’s all good, but I’d also always go back to your network and how you build and grow that.
Remember that as with all situations this too shall pass.
You’re not going to be in this situation forever. Things are always going to change, and this is your opportunity to experiment, play, and create positive change for yourself.
Head to our other features on coping with unemployment during a pandemic:
How has your job been affected by COVID-19? Do you have any tips to share with the TMIK community? Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.